A Pagan writer discusses one (of several) reason(s) Pagans should be supportive of refugees and other immigrants. An interview with the managers of the holy site at Glastonbury. And an examination of the distinction between violent self-defense and violent activism. It's Watery Wednesday, our segment about news within the Pagan community. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
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This past weekend at Paganicon in Minneapolis, MN, I gave workshops on Witchcraft, Ritual Movement, and Art. The latter especially focused on my own path as an artist and where it intersects with my Witchcraft. Alas, 90 minutes wasn't quite enough time to get it all in, so I figured I'd write up 6 key points here for y'all.
In my lecture, I talked about how art schools rarely give artists the tools they need to really succeed. Sure, we can learn the craft of being artists from a technical standpoint and refine the use of our media - but when it comes to promotion and being professional, those areas are sorely lacking in formal art education. Which means finding your way through a lot of trial and error.
So how do you get your work out there as an artist?
1) Have a presence on the internet: a facebook page for your work, Instagram account, your own website, or being on a portfolio website (deviantart, behance, etc), etc. This requires also getting good photos and/or scans of your artwork, as well as crafting a short biography, artist statement, and build a resume of shows/events/awards/education. Watermark your art!
2) Have a physical presence in the real world: invest in business cards, postcards, etc - that you pass out with your work and online presence on them. Network with other artists, check out local groups, galleries, and other events. Does your local town/city have an artwalk? Check out the spaces, see what the art is like.
3) Craft a plan for each year, setting goals for what you want to accomplish. Goals can be along the lines of: doing a series of 10 paintings on X theme, participate in 3 group shows, get a solo show, do 1 outdoor festival, etc. It all depends on your media and where you want to go with your artwork.
4) Keep your word and be realistic. This seems like a common sense thing, but unfortunately there is often a lot of substance behind the idea of the "flakey artists." I can't tell you how many times I've filled in at events for artists who have flaked at the last minute because they didn't get work done for the show. However, shit does happen, so if you suspect you're not able to do an event or make a deadline, give the host/organizer PLENTY of time, so they can adjust accordingly. Saying yes and falling through again and again damages your reputation, no matter how good your work may be.
5) Presentation and Products! Consider the ways you can show and replicate your artwork so that you can get it out there and make money off of it. Is your work easy to frame? What size works best? How durable is it? How much will it cost to hang it properly? Be creative! Prints, notecards, calendars, magnets, t-shirts, etc - can be really awesome - or a money pit. Go to events and see what similar artists (subject, media, etc) are doing, and consider what can be your own take. Look to create a variety of pricepoints as well. For example, I have notecards that are $4, prints from $20-$30, higher end prints from $45-$150, and then original art - so art for a variety of budgets.
6) Make art. No really, make it. Don't just think about it or talk about it, or plan it. MAKE IT. The only way to expand as an artist is to keep making art, keep producing it, keep developing and trying out ideas.
Now there's a lot more that can be done, but these 6 points I believe are at the root of developing your brand and growing as an artist. "Overnight success" is the result of years of hard work that most people never see.
I've been doing a lot of work with the court cards in the tarot, recently. Some of this is due to the projects on which I'm working in my mundane job as an author, and some of it is my own research. The correlation between numerology and the tarot has piqued my interest. However, the court cards aren't numbered, so how do you go about reading them when using numerology? Do you simply count them as 11 (Page), 12 (Knight), 13 (Queen) and 14 (King)? What if there were another way of looking at them?
What I've found has resonated with me—and your mileage may well vary—is to look at the court cards as a more complex set of numbers, rather than just as court cards. In numerology the number 11 is known as a master number, and it does seem to resonate well with the energy of the Page. It's a combination of both 1 and 2. As the Page is the first card in the second part of the suit, the first card in the court cards, it also takes on the energy of both 1 and 2....
I really enjoyed watching a movie called Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons ... until its end. It's a fun, comedic takeoff on finding enlightenment and has a good message ... until its end. There it was: the gender oppression.
The plot: two demon hunters are in love with each other, but the male refuses the woman's love because he's trying to find enlightenment and believes that there is great love and small love. When she dies, his remorse brings him to enlightenment, and he realize that there is no "great and small love."
I am sick of plots in which a woman dies in order for a man to become enlightened. Or plots in which her death gives him the apparently requisite rage to finally conquer his enemy—who, of course, killed her.
Women's lives are not props for a man's story or his victory. A woman's death should mean more than its relationship to a man. Think for a moment about the results of a woman's death constantly portrayed in films as having no importance beyond its impact on a man.
I have been meaning to write a blog post on Goddesses.... lots of blog posts on lots of Goddesses, but that annoying nuisance known as real life has interrupted me numerous times. Today I slowed down. I slowed down a lot, and in so doing, I thought I was going to finish a much delayed post about the Norse Asynjur, but my heart is not in it today. I need to write about loss instead.
My beautiful 17 year old cat Bella is leaving us. Bella does indeed live up to her name as the many photos my husband and I have taken of her over the years will show anyone....
The sad, sorry truth is that none of the old ways have come down to us intact.
None of them.
That's why we go viking.
The way of the shaper, who makes the new, is good.
The way of the merchant, who buys and sells, is also good.
But when you can't make for yourself, and there's none to be had by honest means, then betimes needs must set sails.